ambrotypes, wet plate, and the joys of ether

three parts of a spell (ambrotype)

For the past few months, I have been working with wet plate collodion photography. It’s something I’ve wanted to start for at least a couple of years, and this summer I had a chance to take a workshop with Kerik Kouklis.

And, no kidding, I am in love.

There are many, many reasons, but I think the key one for me is this: there’s the smallest distance between the maker and the final image. It’s so hands on, so organic, so physical at each and every stage. Everything you do leaves a trace, and you finish with a tangible object in your hands.

And, while I should double-stress that this is not a practical guide to doing it yourself, my good friend Haje has posted a piece I have written about making ambrotypes, over on the mighty photocritic.

(The image above is a 4×5″ clear glass ambrotype, that is it’s a one off image that becomes a postive when against a black background.)

2 Responses to “ambrotypes, wet plate, and the joys of ether”

  1. Haje Jan Says:

    ‘mighty’? Aw – hardly :-) but very glad to have posted your article – it made me titter multiple times!

    I should come up to Scotland at some point and see you working the magic in person, because I’ve never really worked with the old-fashioned processes.

    Take care,

    - H

  2. Nancy Breslin Says:

    That’s a beautiful image. I’ve been working on gum printing this past year for some of the same reasons that you’ve been drawn to wet plate. I love the process, the work of the brush, the final image as an object…